Exercise After Pregnancy: All You Need To Know
Updated: Apr 5, 2022
How soon after giving birth can I start working out? Are there any activities I should avoid? What if I had a C-section? How can I make my abdominal separation better? These are all common questions that women have after pregnancy. Let's find out the answers in this post.
When to start
If you had an uncomplicated surgery, it is usually safe to start doing some gentle pelvic floor and abdominal exercises a few days after giving birth. When you feel ready, start with a gentle walk. Then, at your own pace, gradually increase the time and pace of your walks. After 6 weeks, you can return to do yoga, Pilates and some light resistance training. Wait at least 12 weeks before you return to do more intense workouts, such as running and lifting weights. Note that hormonal changes can be present for 6 months after the birth and affect your joints, so start gently and gradually increase the intensity and volume of your workouts over time.
What if I had a C-section?
If you had a C-section or a complication, it is best to wait for your 6-8 week post natal check with your Doctor before returning to your pre-pregnancy levels of exercise. During the first few weeks post partum, it is safe to do some gentle stretches and pelvic floor exercises. Once you have recovered from your C-section, you can start with low impact activities, such as swimming, Pilates, yoga and low resistance gym work. Your Doctor may recommend to wait 12 to 16 weeks before returning to high-impact activities.
How to improve abdominal separation
Your abdominal muscles may have separated during the pregnancy. It often gets better during the first 8 weeks after having your baby, but it is not uncommon to take longer in some cases. A physiotherapist can teach you some exercises to help you regain strength and control of your abdominal muscles. These exercises can also help to close the gap more quickly. It is important to avoid intense exercises in the first few weeks after giving birth since it may cause complications, such as muscle injury and prolapse.
Gentle and gradual exercise helps women to improve their health and fitness after pregnancy. However, it can take up to 6 months for the body to recover completely after giving birth. For this reason, it is important to avoid intense exercises in the initial stage. A physiotherapist can guide you through an exercise program in order to safely improve your fitness level and avoid complications.